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The eyes have it

Eye contact is certainly a part of body language and is included in every book and every course on public speaking. It's extremely important to maintain good eye contact with the audience, but it is necessary to understand exactly what it means. The phrase ''eye contact with the audience'' is often used, but it seems to me to be a contradiction, for it is not possible to maintain eye contact with more than one person at a time. The idea is to go from person to person in the audience and make eye contact with each one for a second or so. The contact should not be too fleeting or it will seem furtive. But looking directly into the eyes of a person for too long may make the person uncomfortable.

Jeff Cook, in his book The Elements of Speechwriting and Public Speaking, offers a sort of formula for using eye contact effectively.


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